What up RaiderNation? Welcome to this week’s edition of My Two Cents, with your favorite old Raider fan, Old Timer. This week, we will talk a little about the pistol, and how it fits our personnel. The pistol has already invaded the NFL, popping up just about everywhere. But I guess before we go any farther, we should discuss what the pistol is, and what it isn’t.
The most common mistake made is that the pistol is an offense such as the WCO. The fact is, the pistol is not an offense, but rather a formation, like the shotgun, and actually, is sort of a hybrid of the shotgun. Another common mistake people make (myself included until I did a little research in order to write this column) is the belief it was developed by Chris Ault. In actuality, it was developed by Tom Kaczkowski and Michael Taylor in 1999 while working for Ohio Northern University. The formation was initially called the “Shotgun I”. Chris Ault saw the potential for the formation, and is attributed with bringing about its wide spread popularity. He renamed the formation in 2005 to the pistol, which is how it is known to the world today. In this formation, the quarterback is lined up 4 yards behind the center rather than the typical 7 yards use in the shotgun formation. The running back is lined up 3 yards directly behind the quarterback similar to an “I” formation (now you know where the original name for the formation, “Shotgun I” came from).
Here is a description of the formation from Wikipedia, “The pistol formation can be used in a variety of ways, because the quarterback is closer to the line of scrimmage than a traditional shotgun formation. This allows him to see more easily over the line and make downfield reads. He will also get the ball snapped to him faster, which can alter timing patterns greatly for a preparing defense. The pistol offense can effectively use draw plays, counters, and options using three-wide receiver formations or multiple tight ends combined with a fullback for pass protection. In a pistol formation, hand-offs occur 2-3 yards closer to the line of scrimmage than in the shotgun. This can make for a more effective running game, but may limit pass efficiency due to quicker recognition of play-action by linebackers and defensive backs. This formation works well with dual threat quarterbacks who can both throw and run and is also used when quarterback’s mobility has been limited by injury.”
Why would the Raiders be interested in using this formation? Well there are a number of reasons. Many are outlined in the paragraph above, but even more important than that, is the fact that the pistol formation is designed to allow playmakers to make plays. Looking forward to next season, we are going to be moving back to the power running scheme that we abandoned last year. What better way to compliment that than to be handing the ball off quicker to DMC, and have him hitting the hole before the defense has a chance to react and fill. The formation works well with both mobile and non-mobile quarterbacks. I want to say here that I believe Terrelle Pryor will be a starting quarterback for us, but I don’t think it happens this year, unless Palmer get’s injured. But just think how successful this formation can be when Pryor is starting. You have all seen how successful it can be after watching the 49ers carve up the Packers. Imagine what Pryor and DMC could do in an offense using that formation. But as previously mentioned, it also works well with non-mobile quarterbacks, especially with the play action pass. With DMC bursting through the holes and gaining 5 or 6 yards a pop like he did in 2011, the defense is going to have to watch for the run, and that is going to open up the pass for Palmer.
The formation is so versatile, and that is what really makes it such a success. Imagine the fake to DMC and the pitch to Jacoby Ford on the reverse. Or how about the fake to DMC up the middle, and the quick slant across the vacated area where the LB’s came up to stop the run. I could go on and on, the possibilities are endless. And in another year when Pryor is our starter, his ability to run with the football just opens up the possibilities exponentially. I do think we will see Pryor in some red-zone packages, so I think we will get an opportunity to see this in action this year.
So why do I think we will see the pistol formation this year? Because it just makes sense. Greg Olson, our new OC is known for designing his offense to fit the strengths of his players, one of the main reasons he was hired. With the success that has been seen this past season in the NFL with the Pistol formation, I don’t see how they would not plan to utilize it at least somewhat. There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to see Pryor out of the pistol formation in some red-zone packages this year. I for one, cannot wait to see it.
So what do you say RaiderNation? What are your thoughts about the pistol formation, and if we will see this formation in our playbook next season. Hit me up, either by leaving a reply in the comment section below, or sending me an email (email address is below). Also, is there a topic you would like to have discussed? I am always open to ideas.
Well, that’s it for this week my Raider brothers and sisters. Make sure to check back next week for another edition of My Two Cents. Peace out RaiderNation!!
Questions? Comments? Email me at OldTimer@silverandblackdaily.com